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Alan Chamberlain



For more than half a century I’ve played music from many traditions and categories. As an aspiring young folkie in the sixties, I was influenced by the early singer-songwriters who defined my generation. From James Taylor to Janis Ian, Joan Baez to Jackson Browne, Joni to Dylan, these were my touchstones when I first started writing songs. In the years since then I’ve played in a variety of ensembles featuring everything from C&W to R&B, Southern Rock to Glam Rock, traditional folk music to Vegas lounge jazz, and all infused with a healthy reverence for the music of the Grateful Dead.

Now I find myself writing a return to the roots of my musical odyssey, informed by the journey of discovering and adapting so many different styles and genres of material. A friend calls my music “hayseed jazz”, a sort of alchemy of folk fundamentals with swing harmonizations, down home changes with uptown voicings. I just call it “Western music”. Covers a lot of bases.

My lyrics also narrate that lived experience. My songs include good time crowd pleasers Just One More and You Never Know, with rowdy uptempo satires I Don’t Wanna Feel Better and We Gotta Do This Again. My songs tell stories involving intriguing characters in First Duty, 21st Century Cowgirl, and Responder. Unflinching examinations of the darker corners of modern life in Free America, Seeking Comfort, and Turtle yield to redemptive ballads Dharma Waltz, The Way That It Goes, Saved The Best For Last, and the blues inflected I’ve Had Enough.

My inventory of cover songs is a collection of some of the best tunes in the literature of acoustic Americana, amplifying and reinforcing the central motifs of my originals. The main reason I learn a song by another songwriter is to learn something new about songwriting. I stand on the shoulders of giants.